Federal and State Government

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Federal and State Government

The projects, strategies, initiatives, grants and programs to combat racism and prejudice within sport and encourage Indigenous and CALD participation are as diverse as this nation and its peoples.

They range from small projects on a local scale, such as commissioning trailers to provide sporting equipment to Arabic youth in western Sydney or providing sports subsidies to newly arrived migrants in South Australia; to national programs such as DIAC’s Harmony Day initiative which encourages people to say ‘no to racism’ or the Australian Sports Commission’s extensive Harassment-free Sport strategy.
The following section is an audit of strategies and programs that have been adopted by federal and state government departments, and national and state anti-discrimination agencies. This is not meant to list every project being conducted in every agency, but rather an overview of some of the main projects that are taking place around the country.
The range of agencies that implement and deliver these programs is as diverse as the projects themselves. Federal Government departments covered include: the Australian Sports Commission; the Department of Immigration and Citizenship; the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; the Indigenous Land Corporation; the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination; the Department of Education, Science and Training; and the Department of Human Services.
Also included is an audit of all state and territory departments of sport and recreation including: Sport and Recreation ACT; New South Wales Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation; Northern Territory Office of Sport and Recreation; Sport and Recreation Queensland; Office for Recreation and Sport South Australia; Office of Recreation and Sport Tasmania; Sport and Recreation Victoria; and the Department of Sport and Recreation WA.
The audit also covers projects from all federal and state anti-discrimination agencies including: the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission; the Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Tasmania; the Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales; the Australian Capital Territory Human Rights Commission; the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland; the Equal Opportunity Commission of South Australia; Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission; the Equal Opportunity Commission of Western Australia; and Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission.
Many of the projects are joint initiatives between several agencies. For example, Play by the Rules is supported and funded by the ASC, all state departments of sport and recreation, all state anti-discrimination agencies, HREOC, the NSW Commission for Children and Young People and the Qld Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian.



The Australian Sports Commission is the peak Australian Government body responsible for the delivery of funding and development of Australian sport through the implementation of the government’s national sport policy ‘Building Australian Communities through Sport (BACTS). Its roles and responsibilities are laid out in the Australian Sports Commission Act 1989.
The ASC provides national leadership in all facets of sport, from the elite level through to the wider sporting community. It delivers these services through its two key units: the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Sports Performance and Development.
The ASC’s Strategic Plan focuses on:

  • increasing adoption of values of fair play, self improvement and achievement,

  • best practice management and governance of sport within and through national sporting organisations,

  • growth in sports participation at the grass-roots level, particularly by youth, Indigenous Australians, women and people with disability.

The ASC has also committed significant resources in the establishment of a specialised Indigenous talent identification scheme over the next four years.

More information is available at www.ausport.gov.au

ASC’s Sports Ethics Unit

The Sports Ethics Unit was established by the ASC in 2002 in recognition of the importance in retaining and enhancing the integrity of sport. They play a lead role in assisting the sport industry to formulate policies, practices, programs and resources to address ethical issues and enhance ethical conduct in Australian sport.
To achieve this, the unit has developed a multi-faceted and industry-wide approach, which is constantly refined. It includes:

  • Harassment-free Sport Strategy,

  • Member Protection funding criterion,

  • Play by the Rules,

  • The Essence of Australian Sport, and

  • Codes of Behaviour.

The unit also consults and works closely with national sporting organisations, state departments of sport and recreation and other agencies to develop strategies to deal with sport-specific issues related to harassment, discrimination, sexual assault, child protection, inappropriate parent, coach, spectator and athlete behaviour and other similar issues.

Harassment-free Sport Strategy

The Harassment-free Sport Strategy is the ASC’s key initiative to address harassment and abuse issues. As part of the strategy, a range of resources, training programs and other information is made available to help sporting organisations create safe and harassment-free environments.
The strategy began development in 1998 in response to:

  • increased litigation in relation to discrimination, harassment and abuse in sport,

  • increased media attention given to the issue,

  • growing concerns that sport may not be aware of and/or meeting its legal and ethical obligations, and

  • government legislation.

The strategy is constantly evolving in response to new or amended government legislation, insurance requirements, community expectations and issues raised by sporting organisations.

An evaluation of the strategy was conducted in mid–2004. Feedback was received from all levels of the sports industry and equal opportunity and anti-discrimination commissions. A review and evaluation report – ‘On the Mark’ – was also commissioned by the ASC.
As a result, it was realigned in 2005 to provide more educational and awareness initiatives to national sporting organisations. The strategy now comprises:

  • Educational resources (series of information sheets covering topics such as race discrimination).

  • Ethics in Sport newsletter (online).

  • Model Member Protection policy template and complaint procedures.

  • Suggested/model Codes of Behaviour for administrators, coaches, officials, players, parents/guardians and spectators.

  • On-line training and information referrals (via Play by the Rules).

  • On-line alternative dispute resolutions register.

  • On-line national Member Protection Information Officer database.

  • Sport Ethics website.

  • Research and information.

  • National education and training program. The program includes the following workshops and courses:

    • Harassment-free Sport overview

    • Member Protection – management briefing

    • Complaint resolution for clubs

    • Member Protection Information Officer

    • Defusing conflict and anger in sport.

State and territory sport and recreation departments, along with equal opportunity and anti-discrimination commissions, promote the strategy and deliver Harassment-free Sport training programs to the organisations with which they work.

More information is available at www.ausport.gov.au/ethics/hfs.asp.

Member Protection

The Member Protection Policy template is a generic document designed to assist organizations to write their own sport-specific policy to reduce and deal effectively with complaints of harassment, discrimination, child abuse and other inappropriate behaviour. The template provides a general framework of:

  • key policy position statements (on issues such as anti-harassment and discrimination);

  • organisational and individual responsibilities;

  • codes of conduct that are relevant to all state/territory member associations, clubs and individuals;

  • guidelines on state/territory child protection legislative requirements; and

  • processes such as complaint handling, tribunals and investigations.

Codes of Behaviour

The ASC is currently revising the many codes of behaviour for the various roles within sport to incorporate The Essence of Australian Sport and provide greater consistency and ‘industry standards’. The revised codes will outline the standard of behaviour required for each role, including players, coaches, administrators, parents and spectators, and will assist in retaining the integrity, fair play and enjoyable aspects of sport.

The Essence of Australian Sport

The Essence of Australian Sport is an over-arching statement that defines the core principles of sport in Australia – Fairness, Respect, Responsibility and Safety – and articulates what sport stands for as an industry. It provides a consistent and positive foundation for the development of codes of conduct and policy, strategic planning and program development.
The Essence of Australian Sport has been drafted by the ASC, in consultation with the sport industry, to educate people on the positive aspects, value and benefits of sport, and reinforce that everyone has a role to play in promoting and displaying good sportsmanship and fair-play values.
The ASC assists sporting organisations, through its programs and resources, to adopt and implement this initiative into their daily activities, processes and policies.
More information is available at www.ausport.gov.au/asc/teoas/index.asp

ASC’s Indigenous Sport Unit

The Indigenous Sport Unit aims to: increase and retain the number of Indigenous people actively participating in structured sport longer term; build genuine community sports capacity; promote and provide the necessary support for mainstream sporting pathways and development opportunities for talented Indigenous sportspeople. It is recognised that longer term retention in structured sport provides a means to improve the overall health, social, emotional and economic status of Indigenous people and their communities.

Indigenous Sports Program

The Indigenous Sport Program evolved from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, which emphasised the importance of access to sport and recreation as an aid to discouraging anti-social and criminal behaviours, and developing and sustaining community cohesiveness. While this is still an important underlying issue, the current focus of the program is on increasing Indigenous participation in organised sport at all levels.
The centrepiece of the program is a national network of 50 Indigenous sport development officers working within each of the state and territory departments of sport and recreation. The program also works closely with 16 national sporting organisations to increase participation, infrastructure and skill development in Indigenous communities.
The targeted national sporting organisations are: Athletics Australia, Australian Football League, Basketball Australia, Cricket Australia, Australian Golf Union, Hockey Australia, Netball Australia, Australian Rugby League, Australian Rugby Union, Softball Australia, Football Federation Australia, Swimming Australia Limited, Surfing Australia, Surf Life Saving Australia, Tennis Australia and Australian Touch Association.
Each year, the Indigenous Sport Program conducts training and other initiatives to address issues that have an impact on Indigenous participation in sport. Understanding and Tolerance is a cross-cultural awareness training package that is delivered through the program to sporting organisations seeking to improve the level of service they offer to Indigenous people (see below for more information).
The program offers a scholarship and grants program, as well as development workshops to assist Indigenous coaches, managers, trainers, athletes and officials.
Each year, in conjunction with relevant national sporting organisations, 100 scholarships are awarded to elite performers across a variety of sports. This grants program helps Indigenous sportspeople to attend national championships and to represent Australia internationally. Since 1996, more than 3000 Indigenous sportspeople have received assistance through the program.
The Indigenous Sports Program also promotes Traditional Indigenous Games that can be used as part of classroom lessons, outdoor education and adventure activities, physical education classes and sport education activities. Traditional games offer the opportunity to learn about, appreciate and experience aspects of Aboriginal culture.
In addition, the Active After School Communities program, delivered nationally by the ASC, provides Indigenous children with free, structured physical activity programs.
More information is available at www.ausport.gov.au/isp/index.asp.

Cross Cultural Awareness

The Indigenous Sport Program developed a sport-specific cross-cultural awareness training package in 2000 to provide a basic understanding and appreciation of issues, culture, protocols and history of Indigenous Australians, and to promote awareness of their experiences and culture in a sport specific environment.
The Cross Cultural Awareness Package – Understanding and Tolerance includes a one-day training course that provides information about Indigenous people and offers a practical guide for working with Indigenous communities.
Initially the Indigenous Sport Development Officers (ISDO’s) were trained to deliver the package. However, a continuous change of staff and recognition that not all ISDO’s were capable of or had the time to deliver the package resulted in the package not being delivered as effectively or widespread as it should.
Billy Williams was an ISDO who catered the package for his personal delivery style and because of this has been a consultant of the ISP for the past two years, specifically targeting the delivery of the package to National Sporting Organisations (NSOs).
The following organisations have received cross-cultural awareness training:

  • National sporting organisations: Netball Australia, Cricket Australia, Softball Australia, Hockey Australia, Australian Golf Union, Surfing Australia, Football Federation Australia, Australian Touch Association, Swimming Australia Limited, Basketball Australia, Athletics Australia, Boxing Australia, Australian Rugby Union, Australian Rugby League.

  • State sporting organisations: Athletics, golf, soccer, netball, softball, basketball, swimming, touch, surfing.

The package is currently being reviewed and updated with consideration being given to broadening the scope of the program to include multicultural awareness and the issues which are becoming more prevalent.

ASC’s Women and Sport Unit

The Women and Sport Unit aims to foster a culture that actively advocates the values of fair play and inclusive practices in sport, promote equality and respect for women and girls in all aspects of sport, and create sport settings that are more inclusive and supportive of the participation of women and girls. The program involves the research, identification and development of innovative policies, program and practices that address gender and equality issues in sport.

Women’s Sports Leadership Grants

The Women’s Sports Leadership Grants provide funding and support for women to seek accredited training and development in coaching, officiating, governance and management.
Grants are available in five areas: high performance coaching and officiating; Indigenous women in rural and remote communities; women in disability sport; women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and women in general sport leadership.
In 2006–07, $400,000 will be available through the Women’s Sports Leadership Grants Programme, which is jointly funded by the ASC and the Office for Women.
More information is available at www.ausport.gov.au/women/grants.asp.

All Australian Sporting Initiative (AASI)

The ASC is implementing a three-year pilot program called the All Australia Sport Initiative (AASI) on behalf of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Launched in 2006, the $1.9 million program aims to increase participation in sport and physical activities with children from diverse backgrounds, specifically in the Lakemba and the Macquarie Fields regions of Sydney.
The program will build on ASC’s Active After-School Communities (AASC) program to address declining levels of activity amongst primary school aged children and unsupervised after-school activity, by providing children and their families with the opportunity to participate jointly in sport to strengthen local community integration.
Essentially the program will run the same as the AASC program, however the framework around the AASI program will require a greater commitment from schools in building cultural acceptance and reinforcing the health and social values of participation in sport and physical activity.
The All Australian Sporting Initiative (AASI) aims to promote increased opportunities for inclusive participation in sport and physical activities and cultural acceptance and inclusion by:

  • providing increased opportunities for inclusive participation in quality, safe and fun structured physical activities for primary school aged children;

  • providing more opportunities for active participation in mainstream sporting activities to lesson feelings of isolation;

  • encouraging current and emerging community leaders to participate more widely in local community sporting activities, including holding positions of responsibility within sporting organisations and representing their community at various sporting forums;

  • informing community leaders about existing sport services for their use, so that leaders can assist their communities in accessing and using these services; and

  • providing mentoring, employment and volunteering opportunities to young people in order to build their leadership, vocational and recreational skills.

The initiative comprises a local club grants program and a sports-specific cross cultural awareness training package to be developed in consultation with the local Muslim community.

The social benefits of this program may include an increase in social capital, increased community pride and identity, prevention of crime, improved self-esteem and development of life skills.
For more information see www.ausport.com.au/aasc

Play by the Rules

Play by the Rules provides information and online training about how to prevent and deal with discrimination, harassment and child abuse for the sport and recreation industry. It compliments the ASC’s Harassment-free Sport Strategy.
The website provides information, resources and training programs to help sporting organisations:

  • decrease the incidence of harassment, abuse and other inappropriate behaviour,

  • promote and instil positive values, such as good sports and fair play,

  • clarify the rights and responsibilities of all participants,

  • tackle inappropriate behaviour such as abuse, harassment and discrimination, and

  • promote the effective handling of complaints.

The website features sports-based DVD scenarios on child protection, discrimination and harassment and complaint handling to work through as part of the on-line learning experience, along with publications that meet the particular needs of each state and territory, including guidelines for coaches, a cultural awareness policy for umpires, code of conduct cards and posters, fair and safe behaviour and a complaint guide for small clubs.

Play by the Rules is a partnership between the ASC, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, all state and territory sport and recreation and anti-discrimination agencies, the NSW Commission for Children and Young People and the Queensland Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian. All partner agencies are involved in promoting Play by the Rules resources and training to the organisations with which they work.
First launched in 2001, this highly popular site has recently undergone a significant update and was re-launched in November 2005. It now includes more information on child protection, as well as new sections on risk management and dealing with complaints. The site has had over six million hits and over 14,000 people registering for the online training since it was launched. The site features a web poll section to receive feedback on a range of issues. A recent web poll on Play by the Rules shows that 75% of people who responded (559) said that racism was still an issue in sport, with almost a quarter of respondents saying it was ‘a big issue’.
Community Service television announcements are currently being developed for release in 2007.
More information is available at www.playbytherules.net.au.



Living in Harmony – Funded Community Projects

The Living in Harmony program assists incorporated, not-for-profit organisations with funding for projects that aim to promote Australian values and mutual obligation, engage the whole community and address understanding and intolerance at the community level.
The priority areas of the program for 2006 are:

  • inter-faith and religious diversity,

  • new and emerging migrant communities,

  • school and educational communities, and

  • Indigenous Australians.

For 2006–07, funding of $1.5 million has been allocated to assist projects for up to 12 months, ranging in project costs between $5,000 and $50,000.

Community projects funded under the Living in Harmony program aim to promote stronger community relations and may be centred on volunteer networks, sporting clubs, workplaces, neighbourhood associations, local government authorities or other local groups.
The initiative has worked with sporting bodies, government and community organisations, schools and communities in the context of a range of sports, including soccer, cricket, AFL, basketball, netball, softball, tennis, lawn bowls, hockey, wrestling and community and regional-based sporting tournaments.
In many cases sports was not the specific focus of the projects, but was a means of facilitating broader goals. The projects have used sport to reduce racism and promote community harmony in eight main ways among sporting organisations, youth and broader sportsplaying communities, by:

  • facilitating discussions within specific codes and wider communities on the topic of racism, fairness and equity;

  • seeking to tackle barriers within codes and wider communities to participation in a wide variety of sports;

  • facilitating a greater awareness of diversity within broader community contexts;

  • working with sporting individuals and groups to overcome negative stereotypes of people from different backgrounds;

  • encouraging joint inter-community sporting activities;

  • using sportspeople as role models and mentors in various educational settings;

  • using sports to broker sensitive relationships, such as between police and youth from new and emerging communities; and

  • encouraging sporting organisations to review their policies and procedures to ensure non-discriminatory language.

Some of the sports-based projects supported in the 2005 funding round included:

  • Open Boundaries – Fairer Playing Fields’: run by the City of Launceston to introduce migrants and refugees to their community through sports, linking each person with a ‘buddy’ from a club where they could get involved with swimming, soccer, basketball, volleyball, dancing and other activities.

  • Harmony Hockey Art – We Are All Playing on the Same Team’: initiated by Hockey Queensland to address discrimination and prejudice experienced by Indigenous hockey players.

  • Living Together, Playing Together’: run by Jesuit Social Services in Victoria and linked to the Victorian Soccer Federation and Australian Professional Footballers Association to eliminate racist abuse by spectators at junior soccer matches.

  • The Grapplers Youth Sport program’: set up by the Australian Wrestling Union to eradicate discrimination and racial bias in wrestling through education and training of young wrestlers, their parents, coaches and officials, along with holding a Harmony Day wrestling tournament.

More information is available at www.harmony.gov.au/grants/index.htm.

Living in Harmony – Harmony Day

Harmony Day is the Australian Government campaign designed to promote Australian values, opportunity, mutual respect, understanding and acceptance among Australians.
Facilitated by DIAC, a wide range of local activities are run by schools, local councils, community organisations, sporting groups and others to promote the benefits of cultural diversity and build understanding between Australians of diverse backgrounds. In 2006, more than 300,000 Australians participated in almost 5,000 events.
The National Rugby League, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia, Netball Australia, the Australian Football League and Surf Life Saving Australia were official partners for Harmony Day 2006, providing players, officials and fans with information about Harmony Day activities, as well as running school and community coaching clinics and themed games. For more information on the individual Harmony Day initiatives of each sporting code/organisation see the sport report section.
More information is available at www.harmony.gov.au/

Harmony Day Forum – SBS Radio

In 2006 there was a Harmony Day Forum, hosted by SBS Radio, which debated the question: ‘What role can sport, as a universal language, play in promoting a cohesive, multicultural Australia’?
Facilitated by SBS Television presenter, George Negus, the forum included: Tony Pignata, Chief Executive of Football Federation Victoria, Melanie Jones, from the Australian Women’s Cricket team, and others closely involved in the world of sport.
The Harmony Day Forum was supported by DIAC and the Victorian Government.

Muslim Youth Aquatic Recreation Project

In partnership with DIAC, the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia (RLSSA) launched the Muslim Youth Aquatic Recreation Project in July 2006. The project is designed to provide Muslim community members with the skills and qualifications required to secure employment as pool lifeguards and swimming teachers.
The project builds on the RLSSA pilot Arabic Youth Aquatic Recreation and Training Program that was conducted in Sydney’s west in 2005, which helped develop stronger links between Muslim community groups, their local aquatic facilities and the RLSSA.


Sporting Heroes Project

The Sporting Heroes project is funded under the Department’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy. It provides $1 million over two years to using sporting figures to encourage young people to develop leadership and be involved in their communities.

Four organisations are involved, delivering a diverse range of programs and covering different geographical regions of Australia:

  • Port Adelaide Football Club runs a program aimed at 10–15 year olds, using school visits by high profile AFL players to promote messages about healthy lifestyle choices, education, goal setting and decision-making.

  • Victorian Institute of Sport supports its athletes to promote positive messages through schools and community groups to young people in disadvantaged regions, mainly in Victoria, but also Tasmania and south western NSW.

  • Corrugation Road’ is a TV series produced through Imparja television and uses leading Indigenous sporting figures as role models to draw attention to issues around education, employment and community well-being.

  • Sport Connect Australia involves elite athletes in intensive mentoring programs to support youth leadership development and community strengthening activities.

More information is available at www.facs.gov.au.


National Indigenous Development Centre

The Australian Government, through the Indigenous Land Corporation, has made $14.8 million available to purchase Redfern Public School from the NSW Department of Education and develop the National Indigenous Development Centre, due for completion in 2009.
The new Centre aims to help young people from local communities develop their potential through mentoring, training and learning initiatives. The redevelopment includes construction of new multi-use classrooms, accommodation facilities, a 25-metre heated swimming pool and a sports training field. When fully operational, the centre will support up to 5,000 young people each year.
The centre will accommodate a number of established programs, including:

  • the Exodus Foundation, which will establish a tutorial centre for children aged 10–14,

  • the National Aboriginal Sports Corporation Australia, which runs a number of sporting and life development programs for Indigenous people encouraging health lifestyles through sport and education, and

  • the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team, which provides opportunities for Indigenous youth to become involved in rugby union, netball and golf.


National Indigenous Council

The National Indigenous Council (NIC) is an appointed advisory body to the Australian Government, which receives administrative support from the Secretariat Branch of Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination.
Dean Widders, who has played in the National Rugby League competition for the past five years with the Parramatta Eels as well as being Director for the National Aboriginal Sporting Corporation of Australia, was appointed to the NIC in June 2006.
Another leading Indigenous sporting identity, Adam Goodes, a member of the Sydney Swans AFL team, is also a member of the NIC.
More information is available at www.atsia.gov.au/NIC/members.aspx


Sporting Chance Programme: School-Based Sports Academies

Funding of $13.5 million has been allocated to establish school-based sports academies to engage Indigenous students in secondary education.
The school-based sports programmes will engage young Indigenous girls and boys in a range of sports and activities aimed at building confidence, life skills and achieving better educational outcomes.
In 2007, the initiative will enable more than 1,000 students to attend up to 12 sports academies, located within schools or school precincts. This will increase to 1,700 students from every state and territory, with some 20 academies in place by the end of 2009.
The programme will be implemented in partnership with national and state sporting bodies that have strong affiliations with schools, and in collaboration with state and territory governments. Corporate and philanthropic organisations will be encouraged to become partners.

More information is available at www.dest.gov.au.

Indigenous Ambassadors Programme

The aim of the Indigenous Ambassadors Programme is to promote the importance of education, literacy and numeracy to Indigenous students and their parents.
Ambassadors are selected for their high profile roles in the areas of education, community leadership, sporting endeavours, health and entertainment.
A total of 27 Ambassadors have been selected. They have in common experience, leadership skills, commitment to education and recognition in Indigenous communities.


Indigenous Sport and Recreation Program (ISRP)

The Indigenous Sport and Recreation Program (ISRP) is an Australian Government program which provides funding to community groups, organisations and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) to increase and encourage the active participation of Indigenous Australians in sport and physical recreation activities.
The ASC receives funds from DCITA through a Memorandum of Understanding. With these funds, the ASC administers the Indigenous Sport Program, which consists of a network of Indigenous Sport Development Officers and a program that provides financial assistance to talented Indigenous athletes.
The ISRP supports projects which:

  • encourage wide community involvement and active participation in group sport and physical recreation activities;

  • are designed to build the skills of community members to participate in, organise and promote community sport and physical recreation activities over the long term; and

  • promote healthy living, drug free participation and respect for players, officials and spectators.

Administered by DCITA, funding to community groups and organisations is made available through either an annual submission process or Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs).

For more information see www.dcita.gov.au/


Indigenous Ambassadors Programme

The Indigenous Ambassadors Programme aims to inform Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about services and programmes available from the agencies under the Department of Human Services, such as Medicare and Centrelink.
There are currently three Indigenous Ambassadors – rugby league legend, Arthur Beetson, Olympic hurdler, Kyle Van der Kuyp, and women’s touch football champion, Bo de la Cruz.


The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is a national independent statutory government body, established in 1986 by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act. The federal Attorney General is the Minister responsible in Parliament for HREOC.
The Commission is administered by the President, who is assisted by the Human Rights, Race, Sex, Disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioners.
Under the legislation administered by the Commission, it has responsibilities for inquiring into alleged infringements under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Age Discrimination Act 2004, as well as inquiring into alleged infringements of human rights under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986.
Matters which can be investigated by the Commission include discrimination on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic origin, racial vilification, sex, sexual harassment, marital status, pregnancy, age or disability.
Human rights education is one of the core responsibilities of the Commission along with the investigation and attempted resolution of complaints about breaches of human rights and anti-discrimination legislation.
The Commission plays a central role in contributing to the maintenance and improvement of a tolerant, equitable and democratic society, through its public awareness and other educational programs aimed at the community, government and business sectors.

Complaints service

The Commission is responsible for handling complaints under the Acts mentioned above. Once a complaint is received, the President is responsible for inquiring into and attempting to conciliate the complaint.
If conciliation does not work or the complaint does not proceed to conciliation, the complaint will be terminated by the President and the complainant can decide to take their complaint to the Federal Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates Court.
It does not cost anything to make a complaint. An online complaint form is available at www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints_information/online_form/

Voices of Australia

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission joined forces with the National Rugby League (NRL) in 2005 to tackle racism through their support for ‘Voices of Australia’ – a project to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Racial Discrimination Act.
The aim of ‘Voices of Australia’ is to encourage greater understanding and friendship between people of different backgrounds through sharing the stories of their experiences.
NRL stars from diverse cultural backgrounds including: Dean Widders (Parramatta Eels), Darren Lockyer and Petero Civoniceva (Brisbane Broncos), Steve Price (New Zealand Warriors), Hazem El Masri (Canterbury Bulldogs), Alex Chan (Melbourne Storm), Anthony Minichiello (Sydney City Roosters) and Matt Bowen (North Queensland Cowboys) share their real life stories as part of the project. Read the NRL stars’ stories at www.humanrights.gov.au/voices/#nrl_stories
Players are also featured in a poster showing them working together as equals on the sporting field which were distributed at NRL games throughout 2005.
The Commission also produced a magazine and CD-Rom featuring a range of selected stories which was distributed to community groups, libraries, local councils, religious groups, government agencies and other groups around the country. For more information see www. humanrights.gov.au/voices/

Fact the Facts

Face the Facts provides factual, easy-to-read information about refugees and asylum seekers, migration and multiculturalism and Indigenous people. It aims to provide clear and accurate information to counter myths and stereotypes that often surrounds debate on these issues.
The publication is one of the Commission’s most popular resources. It is used by teachers and students as an education resource, and by members of parliament, journalists and community groups.
HREOC first produced Face the Facts in 1999. A second edition was published in 2001, a third in 2003 and a fourth edition in 2005. The new version was accompanied by an expanded web version, as well as a teaching resource module and education package linked to school curricula.
For more information see www.humanrights.gov.au/racial_discrimination/face_facts/

Fact sheets on aspects of the Race Discrimination Act (RDA)

As an educational tool, HREOC has produced plain English fact sheets on various RDA

issues including:

  • a guide to the RDA;

  • landmark cases decided under the RDA;

  • information about complaints conciliated under the RDA;

  • a guide to the racial hatred provisions of the RDA;

  • a guide to International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD);

  • a guide to monitoring compliance with ICERD; and

  • special measures.


The Ismaع (‘listen’ in Arabic) project commenced in March 2003 in response to increasing concerns expressed by Arab and Muslim organisations about the rise in anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice in Australia.
The aim of the Ismaع project was to explore whether Arab and Muslim Australians were experiencing discrimination and vilification post-September 11. The project involved three main components:

  • National consultations with Arab and Muslim Australians. Over 1,400 people participated in 69 consultations in all states and territories around Australia between April and November 2003.

  • Empirical and qualitative research conducted by the Centre for Cultural Research at the University of Western Sydney (UWS).

  • An audit of strategies and initiatives that seek to address anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice, discrimination and vilification.

The report of the Ismaع project and audio CD were launched nationally in June 2004. For more information see www.hreoc.gov.au/racial_discrimination/isma/index.html

Assisting sporting organisations

The Commission has helped sporting organisations such as the AFL, NRL and the Northern NSW Soccer Federation with conciliation of complaints and has provided advice on their racial discrimination policies.
For example, the NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) requested assistance from HREOC in the NSWRL’s review of their racial and religious vilification policy in 1997, which the Race Discrimination Unit helped to draft.
In 2001, HREOC and the NSWRL signed a Memorandum of Understanding which outlined procedures for the referral to HREOC’s complaint handling section of complaints under the NSWRL racial and religious vilification code of conduct.

Play by the Rules

HREOC is a Play by the Rules partner and promotes the resource to the organisations with which it works. For more information, refer to the Play by the Rules Section above.



NSW Sport and Recreation

NSW Sport and Recreation is part of the NSW Department of the Arts, Sport and Recreation which is an agency within the NSW Government. The agency provides and facilitates sport and recreation services for the people of NSW.


NSW Sport and Recreation has developed Sportsrage, a program that provides sporting clubs with educational and promotional resources to address abusive behaviour and promote respect in sport.
The resources cover a range of issues, including: understanding the law, putting effective policies in place, promoting a fair play message to everyone associated with the club and strategies for dealing with ‘sportsrage’ incidents.
More information is available at www.dsr.nsw.gov.au/sportrage/index.asp

‘Dummy spits are for Babies’ ground announcement

The ‘Dummy spits are for Babies’ ground announcement campaign was launched in August 2006 by the NSW Premier Morris Iemma.
The campaign aims to highlight the ugly side of sport rage and encourages parents not to interfere with their children’s enjoyment of sport.
Dummy spits are for Babies’ was played on the big screen during the National Rugby League finals series, Sydney Swans games, rugby union matches and at A-League fixtures in the coming months.

WimSWIM Women only swimming program

The WimSWIM program provides learn-to-swim and leisure swimming programs for women and girls of all ages. All swimming lessons are taught by accredited female swimming instructors in a fully enclosed, indoor, private, heated pool. The program has been successful in engaging women and girls from diverse backgrounds, particularly Muslim Australians.

Indigenous Sports Program

NSW Sport and Recreation manages the national Indigenous Sport Program in New South Wales on behalf of the Australian Sports Commission. The department runs programs such as the Nura Mani sports carnival for Indigenous communities, which is held across three locations in NSW.

Youth Partnership with Arabic Speaking Communities

The Partnership, established in 2001 by the NSW Government, funds educational, family support, sport and recreation, cultural and youth development activities to respond to a range of challenges faced by Arabic speaking young people and their families. These activities emphasise community consultation and the participation of young people.
The Partnership is coordinated by NSW Department of Community Services. NSW Sport and Recreation is a partner agency, providing programs and services to engage Arabic speaking young people in sport and physical activity.
More information is available at www.youthpartnership.nsw.gov.au

Sports trailers helping Arabic youth

Three specially commissioned mobile trailers provide a wide range of sporting equipment (including traditional Arabic activities) to Arabic youth in Western and South Western Sydney.
The NSW Government has invested $20,000 in the trailers – which is a joint project between the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS) and NSW Sport and Recreation.

Cricket and Australian football – CALD outreach program

In partnership with Cricket NSW and the Australian Football League (NSW/ACT), NSW Sport and Recreation has developed an outreach program to increase the number of children and young people from CALD communities participating in cricket and Australian football.
The pilot project, initiated in 2005, works with students, teachers and families associated with primary schools in the Canterbury City Council area. It is based on the idea of having fun, being active and engaging the whole family in sport and physical activity.

Harassment-free Sport Strategy

NSW Sport and Recreation promotes the ASC’s Harassment-free Sport Strategy and training materials through its website and community programs.
As part of this program, NSW Sport and Recreation provides advice for sporting organizations to identify harassment, put in place anti-harassment policies and resolve complaints of harassment. It also runs Member Protection Information Officer training programs to address issues of risk management.
More information is available at www.dsr.nsw.gov.au/industry/ryc_legal_harass.asp

Play by the Rules

NSW Sport and Recreation is a Play by the Rules partner and promotes the resource to the organisations with which it works. For more information, refer to the Play by the Rules Section above.

Anti Discrimination Board of NSW (ADB)

The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW is part of the NSW Attorney General’s Department. It administers the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 and promotes anti-discrimination and equal opportunity principles and policies throughout the state.

Anti-discrimination training programs

The ADB provides tailored on-site training programs for a wide range of organisations, including sporting organisations, to provide information and strategies to address issues of harassment, discrimination and vilification.
A Diversity and Vilification Prevention program was recently developed by the ADB in partnership with the Rugby Union Players’ Association, to be delivered to elite and academy rugby players. The program features stories from players from culturally diverse backgrounds, discusses vilification laws and teaches players how to handle difficult situations without resorting to abuse.
For further information on the program see the rugby union sport report.

Play by the Rules

The ADB is a Play by the Rules partner and promotes the resource to the organisations with which it works. For more information, refer to the Play by the Rules Section above.

Law of the Land project

The NSW Government has provided $100,000 in funding to establish the Law of the Land project, which uses sport as a way to introduce newly arrived migrant and refugee young people to adapt to life in Australia.
The eight-week pilot – run through Fairfield Cabramatta PCYC – consists of a two-hour session each Friday afternoon which discusses looking for and applying for work, road safety, drug and alcohol issues, accessing government services and the benefits of sport and a healthy lifestyle.
The Sydney Swans AFL team support the program by conducting skills sessions at the PCYC and hosting the young people at training sessions, clinics and games.


Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV)

Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) is a division of the Department for Victorian Communities. SRV works to attract and organise major events throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria and also supports community building through targeted sport and recreation activities.

Indigenous Sports Development Program

Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Indigenous Sports Development Program aims to:

  • increase access to sport and recreation opportunities for Indigenous communities,

  • create sustainable partnerships with state and regional sporting associations,

  • increase awareness within the sport and recreation industry of how to be more inclusive of Indigenous communities.

Sport and Recreation Victoria also manages the national Indigenous Sport Program in Victoria on behalf of the Australian Sports Commission.

Victorian Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation (VAYSAR) is the state peak body for Aboriginal Sport and Recreation. VAYSAR's core programs include sports development grants for Koori people and communities, role model programs, youth leadership programs, and carnivals and events.

Harassment-free Sport Strategy

Sport and Recreation Victoria promotes the ASC’s Harassment-free Sport Strategy and training programs through its website.
They also run Member Protection Information Officer training programs and refer sporting organisations to the Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria for information sessions on discrimination and harassment in sport.

Play by the Rules

Sport and Recreation Victoria is a Play by the Rules partner and promotes the resource to the organisations in the sports sector. For more information, refer to the Play by the Rules Section above.

Keeping Sport Fun and Safe

Sport and Recreation Victoria has produced Keeping Sport Fun and Safe, a publication that provides sporting organisations with codes of behaviour to help them provide a safe physical, social and cultural environment for junior sport.
SRV has also developed and published User-friendly Sport: An ideas book to help sport and recreation clubs grow, available from their website.

‘Go for your life’ Physical Activity Grants program

The ‘Go for your life’ Physical Activity Grants, a Victorian Government initiative administered by Sport and Recreation Victoria, aims to promote increased involvement in physical activity by groups currently under-represented in physical activity participation.
Grants of up to $30,000 per year for up to two years (maximum grant $60,000) were available to not-for-profit community organisations and local government authorities. A wide range of projects engaging CALD communities were successful in the last funding round.
For more information see www.goforyourlife.vic.gov.au


VicSport is the peak body for sport in Victoria. It is an independent non-government organisation representing over 170 members of the sport and recreation industry and their affiliated groups.

Welcoming and Inclusive Sport

With funding from VicHealth, VicSport is working with state sporting associations in Victoria to assist sporting organisations develop welcoming and inclusive environments for members or potential members, regardless of their ability, background or personal attributes.
As part of the program a set of on-line resources have been developed including checklists, tips and case studies for clubs to be ‘welcoming and inclusive’ organisations, introducing new members to the club and managing adult behaviour in junior sport.
VicSport runs training programs for Sports Development Officers to promote effective ways of engaging people from CALD communities in sport and physical activity programs.

Community Inclusiveness Resource

The ‘Community Inclusiveness – a guide for groups’ resource was developed by Geelong Leisure Networks. It provides useful tips on how to create more inclusive environments for people from a range of backgrounds (eg. Kooris, women, cultural groups, youth and older people).
The guide promotes the need to support and encourage participation in community life by all people. For more information see www.leisurenetworks.org/including_everyone.htm

Anti-discrimination/harassment policies

VicSport provides assistance and support to help sporting organisations develop and implement effective policies on a wide range of topics, including dispute resolution, risk management, codes of conduct, and equity and inclusion.


The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation – or VicHealth – is the peak body for health promotion in Victoria.

Active Participation Grants

These grants assist sport and recreation organisations to encourage and increase participation in physical activity for population groups that are inactive or may traditionally encounter barriers to participation.
For instance, a recent grant through this program was used to buy a bus, meet running costs and purchase sporting equipment to allow children and young people from the Namatjira Avenue Aboriginal settlement to regularly train and play with the Mildura United Soccer Club.
Another has been used by the Maribyrnong City Council to provide after school and holiday sport and recreation programs for newly arrived refugees and migrants in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Building Bridges Scheme: Together We Do Better

Building Bridges is a grants scheme that aims to improve mental health and wellbeing by promoting positive contact and cooperation between people from migrant and refugee backgrounds and others in the community.
Grants of up to $20,000 are available for initiatives that bring migrant and refugee groups affected by discrimination and social exclusion together to work on cooperative activities with members of the wider community.

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